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Uncharted Territory

自分が読んで興味深く感じた英文記事を中心に取り上げる予定です

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大使館なんてもういらない

 
今でもフライトアテンダントや海外駐在員がカッコイイという風潮がありますが、海外の情報がネットで瞬時に手に入る時代になっています。大使館の役割の見直しを提言している記事がありました。

embassies are now usually the slowest way to get information, unable to compete with lightning-fast media reporting and exhaustive country analyses prepared by NGOs and risk consultancies.と辛辣に書いています。

SNAPSHOT March 14, 2016
The Irrelevant Diplomat
Do We Need Embassies Anymore?

By Alex Oliver

The embassy, at least in its traditional form, is facing an existential crisis. The global transformations of the twenty-first century have dramatically changed the way nations practice diplomacy. The rise of digital communications, diminishing resources, and growing security threats all raise the question of whether the traditional embassy is still relevant.

More than half of the developed nations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) have reduced their diplomatic footprint over the last decade, according to our research at the Lowy Institute, where we have constructed the Global Diplomacy Index, which charts almost 6,000 diplomatic posts across nearly 660 cities around the world. As government budgets shrink, embassies and diplomats seem more like expensive luxuries than political assets. It doesn’t help, of course, that diplomats are stereotyped as overpaid and ineffectual cocktail-circuit regulars and that foreign ministries frequently fail to reflect the times. They generally lack diversity and are slow to embrace innovation, even social media. Australia’s diplomats in Indonesia, for example, were still not using social media in 2010, even though Indonesia is the site of one of its most significant embassies, the largest recipient of Australian aid, and one of its most important neighbors in Asia. Despite being described as a “digital dinosaur” in 2010, the secretary of Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs admitted in 2012 that he still did not consider digital diplomacy a high priority. And with the rising importance of economic diplomacy, governments are more inclined to open trade offices and innovation hubs than embassies. For example, our research indicates that between 2009 and 2015 the United Kingdom’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office shed almost 30 diplomatic missions, while its science and innovation network expanded its coverage from 24 to 28 countries.

Once the government’s eyes and ears abroad, embassies are now usually the slowest way to get information, unable to compete with lightning-fast media reporting and exhaustive country analyses prepared by NGOs and risk consultancies. The digitally connected world allows governments to communicate directly with their counterparts, and some world leaders, including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, have become prodigious users of Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, speaking to huge domestic and foreign audiences without even telling their embassies.


特に紛争地域での安全確保を考えるとコストに見合う成果を上げられるか、疑問視されているそうです。もちろんだからといって、本来の人と人とのつながり、現地でしか得られない情報などもあるので、完全に大使館を廃止せよといっているのではありません。

All of this doesn’t mean that embassies do not have a significant role to play in foreign relations. There are plenty of reasons why we still need these foreign outposts. They are their nations’ shop fronts: a physical interface between the home nation and the host country. Good diplomats forge relationships with governments that would otherwise be tough to reach; they navigate local power dynamics, gather and interpret information, help businesses steer through foreign legislation, and connect with local civil society.

もし現地での人脈作りなどを大使館がやっていないとしたら、もう論外ですよね。それなら廃止決定です。。メディアの海外支局なんかでも思いますが、AP通信とロイターの情報に頼りきりで単なる顔出しのアリバイ作りだけなら海外支局なんかも不要ですよね。
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Yuta

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